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Old 10-24-2015, 12:26 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Broke College Kid New to this Bus thing

Hi all, first off I'd like to say that I'm very happy to have found this awesome site. As the title says I'm a broke college kid only 20 years old and I'm interested in converting a bus for me and my fiancÚ to live in off campus since apartments and crap and too expensive, I think I'd be willing to try and invest about 10K into this, any tips for starting off or if it'd even be a good idea?
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Old 10-24-2015, 09:03 AM   #2
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Its obvious, but do you have a place to park it? Will you need to be off grid/plan on using generator for power? Will you insulate/lift roof? Keep original windows? All these questions need to be answered, then you'll have some good info. Welcome!
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Old 10-24-2015, 09:10 AM   #3
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Having somewhere to park/work on a bus is harder than it seems. I'd say have two or three places so when the first location doesn't work out there isn't that scramble to find a storage yard or whatever.
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:08 PM   #4
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well judging from the area I'm in here in northern Pennsylvania find a place to park it wouldn't be all that hard I don't think but yes I would want it atleast semi insulated and off grid with solar panels and heated with a fireplace. structurally I want it pretty untouched as far as windows or raised celling go since I would try and do this cheap. I would have a good place to build this though and if you more experienced people think itd be a more cost effective method of living off campus to start paying the bills then i'd like to start planning it now and complete it over my summer break, roughly 4 months.
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:16 PM   #5
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It could be awesome for you! How tall are you? If you're over 6' insulating the bus well and keeping any headroom will be almost impossible without a raise or finding a hi roof bus, but still might be a bit low.

For moderate power useage, id say your solar setup will run abour 3k

Dont plan on selling the bus when you're done with it for a profit. Youll be lucky to get what you put in it and probably lots less.

Wood stoves are cool for heating, but if you're gone all day, the internal temps of be bus will get cold in the winter and in the mornings. You dont want to leave a burning stove unattended if you can help it
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:46 PM   #6
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I'm 5' 6" so I think I might be fine with a simple insulation and as far as wood stove goes I'd be on campus most of my day so starting up the stove might not be that bad. Overall I'm just looking for a cheaper alternative to apartment living and being able to save money, I'm willing to take a hit and invest some money in order to save money in the long run. Would you say that 4 months is enough time to get a bus equipped and livable
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:51 PM   #7
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5'6" is fine, that's about the cutoff of where you NEED a roof raise, IMO.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:24 PM   #8
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I'm 5'8" have almost three inches of insulation in the floor and still have room for another inch or so for ceiling insulation without even beint close. I do have a high roof Bluebird.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:26 PM   #9
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At 5'10 I'm out of headroom in mine. Standard height AmTran.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:56 PM   #10
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Do you have $20,000 min to build a bus for full time living?

Insulation, solar, appliance's, heating / cooling parts, ect all adds up far faster than anyone thinks.

A steel tent can be done cheap, but is no good to live in full time in any climate.

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Old 10-24-2015, 09:17 PM   #11
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would it actually be around 20k?
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Old 10-24-2015, 11:17 PM   #12
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You could go bare minimum to save money but there's some things that are costly that you would need.

You need to make a list of what you can live without and for those items that you just have to have, you need to consider the cost of installing to accommodate.

Are you going to have running water?

Are you going to bathe on the bus?

Are you going to cook?

Do you need electricity?

Do you need a crapper?

The original cost of a used bus does make this venture sound ideal, but it's the little things that will nickel & dime you.

With 10K it's doable depending on what essentials you have to have.
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Old 10-24-2015, 11:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bdubble View Post
would it actually be around 20k?
If you wanted something nice, it would at least be $10K, if you scrounged for deals, went with the cheapest bus, did EVERYTHING yourselves and took over a year to do it. If you want something very nice yeah, $20k is probable. The less you do yourselves the more it will cost.

A bar napkin breakdown.
bus min $2k max $10k avg $3k
solar min $2k max $40k avg $4k
insulation min $0 max $6k avg $1.3k
heating min$0 max $6k avg $1k
electrical (just wiring and boxes).5-1.5k Depending on complexity
kitchen min $.3k(you won't cook much with this one) and you can spend as much as you could imagine on this one I am guessing most will spend either 1k or 3k depending on your tastes and appliances.
Plumbing probably at least another 1k and could spend as much as you can set on fire.
What kind of walls and floor and ceiling you want that will probably cost .5-2k
furniture?
propane tanks?
Tools?
Tires?


You see why Nat said $20k

If you want to live well on the cheap get a used prebuilt RV if you want to live in YOUR OWN RV then build a skoolie. It may not be cheap but in the long run it is worth it.

All that said $20k isn't a lot for a cool tiny house that moves itself.
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Old 10-25-2015, 02:08 AM   #14
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Thank you soo much for all the estimates and details of what to look for, I guess I'm gonna sit down and research the heck out of everything tomorrow and start adding it up
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